Saturday, March 31, 2012

In re Copyright Terrorism

Ok. I read Leah Day's post on copyright terrorism. And let's just say, I've been thinking about it for a long time. For those of you that know me, I mean REALLY now me, you would know that I used to work in the field... intellectual property protection. I'm not an attorney, but I have a pretty good grasp on what it means to register your trademark, copyright, or patent and try to protect it.

I have to say that everything Leah said pretty much crossed my mind at some point during my (oh so short) quilting adventures. Yes, I'm still an amateur, but at some point I was paid to decide what constitutes IP (intellectual property) infringement.

When did I first hear of the whole copyright thing as it relates to quilting? I was in a store in Virginia. I brought in a quilt that I wanted to make bigger. Someone at the counter said, "It's lovely. You should get it copyrighted. So no one can steal it." I promptly told them that I used a pattern from a book, but all I could think was "Really? It's just triangles and squares sewn together over and over in a repeating pattern. I don't think you can copyright this." Well, you probably can. But, that doesn't mean it's protect-able.

There are several elements to copyright protection. First off, what is copyright?  I have to say, probably not a quilt made entirely of HSTs (half square triangles). But, in the quilting world, you really need to read this. I hate the copyright "Nazis" too (my hubby said this term is too derogatory to use so I should put quotes around it), but I understand where they are coming from. I just think they are misinformed.

Unless your "work of art" (because that is really what a copyrighted thing is) is very distinguishable and unique, you are not going to be able to protect it. Even if you register it. Let's just say you make a quilt that looks like the Mona Lisa and let's say it's owned by Google. If it's not totally an exact replica (like 99%) then forget it. It's not the same and it's not going to withstand any copyright lawsuit from Google. The only reason people usually win these cases is they settle out of court. This doesn't mean someone infringed on a copyright, it just means they decided not to pursue the case (maybe it was too costly for attorneys or whatever) and they settled it for smaller amounts of money (and maybe admitted blame). Also, copyright protection law expires. Things become public domain (in the U.S.) after awhile. That's why we can use Beethoven's 5th as much as we want without legal repercussions.

Now, should you give credit where credit is due? Legally, you do not have to. But, in the industry, it would fare well for you to do so. Any inspiration you get is always a good thing. And, you should give credit to your inspiration, for the good of the cause.

Regarding the case that Leah mentioned, I can see where it stemmed from. If someone created fabric with a design on it that they artistically created, then that "image" (regardless of the medium) should be protected. It's like, if I have Mickey Mouse fabric and I make a quilt out of it, should I be able to make a profit out of it? The answer is "no." I would be stealing a (world renown) image and making a profit for which I do not have the right to do so. I would need permission (or usually called a license) to do so. What it comes down to is whether or not the image on the fabric is widely recognized or easily reproducible. Widely recognized usually means that the "work" is property of someone and the chances of you profiting from it (in essence stealing from someone) is highly likely. But, if it's something so obvious (easily reproducible) that anyone could have come up with it, then you probably can't stake claim to it. Imagine, if I created the first wheel, and it was round. Could no one else create another wheel without paying me royalties? This also opens a whole new can of worms because the wheel is an invention (patents), but the concept is very similar. But, ponder this, I make a quilt (and I've already thought of this) that is entirely made out of triangles and squares but when you look at it, it resembles the head of Mickey Mouse. Am I stealing something? Probably not, and as a reminder, I am not an attorney. But, if I try to sell it, or reprint it in a highly read magazine, there will probably be trouble, even if I try to claim "parody," which is a license given to creators (such as Weird Al) that makes it so you can reproduce but modify something "just for fun."

I say, just be careful. If you feel you are truly stealing something from someone, don't do it. If you feel inspired, then maybe that's all it is... give the inspiration credit. If you are not sure, talk to your "inspirer" and maybe it will be the start of a wonderful relationship. (Yes, call them, email them, who knows where it could take you!) It's supposed to be fun. Don't worry too much about stealing copyright from someone. Like Leah said in the context of what do you want, should be something like this: "A world where we share ideas, techniques, fabric, and tools as freely as our grandmothers around a quilt frame," I think this is our ultimate goal.

Anyway, I say, unless you are totally plagiarizing something, it's probably ok. Get over it if you want to try to copyright everything that you do. It does put a damper on the "cause." Enjoy yourself and spread the "cause."

No post would be complete without a picture, so I am sharing my progress on my Mom's quilt:

Until next time...


Oh, I almost forgot my legal disclaimer :)

All copyrightable text and graphics, the selection, arrangement, and presentation of all materials (including information in the public domain), and the overall design of this web page are ©2012 The Amateur Quilter. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to download and print materials from this website for the purpose of viewing, reading, and retaining for reference. Any other copying, distribution, retransmission, or modification of information or materials on this site, whether in electronic or hard copy form, without the express prior written permission of The Amateur Quilter, is STRICTLY ALLOWED!!!!!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It Isn't Easy Being Green! Got My Prize Package from Donna at This Year's Dozen!

Donna at This Year's Dozen celebrated her four year blogging anniversary with a giveaway. And, I was one of the lucky winners! Go to her blog and give her some comment love and follow her!

Anyway, I only had to leave a comment stating what my favorite colour was. The prizes were a surprise based on what you like. I went with my favorite: GREEN. And, I wanted something quilting related. Let me just say, it was a fabulous package of goodies:

Kitchen Accessories pattern, small and large charm assortments, some fat quarters, some yardage, some green threads and a wonderful quilt block book!!!!! It's the first time I have ever won something on the giveaways and I was quite flabbergasted with all the goodies!!!

I don't know yet what I am going to do with the accoutrements. One idea I had was to make a St. Patty's Day themed quilt that I could put out during that time of year. But, then I thought I want it to be out all the time :) Then I thought, there's enough there to make 2 projects (even though I do larger projects usually). I have too many things in the fire right now, but I am going to keep these items grouped and try to tie them all together in some way.

This is also my first time with charms. See my post about them. I have another question regarding this. One of the commenters on my post talked about prewashing. I prewash everything. Can you prewash charms? Or, will they become all wonky and frazzled? Leave a comment if you have any suggestions regarding this.

Anyway, congratulations Donna and thank you for making my day!!!


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesdays

In the last week I worked on 2 things. The Quilt Story Block of the Month and my Mom's quilt.

This is the Block of the Month. I blogged about it on Sunday. 

This is my Mom's quilt. I blogged about it here and here.

I do not have a picture yet, but I finally got all 42 blocks sewn together. I am now working on the border. It's a huge quilt for me and a lot to handle. Also, some of the seams are very bulky where the points come together. I decided they needed steaming. (I blogged about this.)

I am linking up at Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesdays.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Anyway, until next time.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peace Out

I'm doing another block of the month at Quilt Story. I really like this one because there is a ton of leeway. They just tell you what kind of block to make and you do the rest. There are only 12 blocks, so I am doing 2 of each to make a larger quilt. I haven't decided yet, but I may add a sashing and border that will make it even bigger. I prefer quilts that get snuggled with rather than those that you hang on the wall. Here are the pictures for my March blocks, for which the theme was 9 patch:

The purple in the left block is from an old work shirt that was going to get thrown out. The rest are just bits and pieces I've collected here and there. I don't know why I was attracted to the peace fabric. I just had to have it and I had no project in mind. I haven't decided if I am going to keep going with it on future blocks for the BOM.


Peace out!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Prince Charming

So, just what exactly is a "Charm Pack?" I know, I've Googled it. But, really what's its purpose? Is it cheaper? Does it save you time? Is it convenient? Are the ones with the jagged edges really the size they say they are?

Coming from someone who has not been doing this long, I'm perplexed. I just don't get it. I saw some on Craftsy or Groupon or whatever that were on sale for now only. When I calculated the yardage, it was not a "real" deal. Even though they were like 40% off. Then I noticed they were advertised for 5.5 inch squares, but they had a shear cut (zig zag) so I was wondering: Is the 5.5 inches measured from the outer point or the inner point? And, how functional is it, if you just want to sew squares together? I can't imagine not having a straight line when I sew squares together. I would never be able to discern a quarter inch seam!!!

Anyway, leave me some insight into this in the comments. Remember, I'm just an amateur.

I web-lifted the photo, so please let me know if I have violated your copyright. (I'm not gonna buy one until I understand the reasoning behind it!)


Thursday, March 8, 2012

To Steam or Not to Steam, That is the Question.

So, yesterday I was assembling the blocks on the quilt for my mother, and I realized that some of the bulky seams (which I had pressed open) were not very flat. So, I decided to steam those babies and you would not believe how flat they came out. I had been told previously by many others that steam is bad for the fabric. "Don't do it, it will [insert reason here] to your fabrics." Well, I wanted to know what others think?

I'm not talking about "pressing" versus "ironing." That is, pushing across the fabric versus just pushing down. I know that this can stretch the fabric and make your piecing "wonky" shaped and therefore more difficult to assemble. Does anyone have any insight into this?

Here are some pictures of the seams, one with steam, one without:

You can tell which is which, huh?

So, just curious. Comment on what you think. And if you do not follow me, please do. I am in need of followers :)

Another question: 

If you could buy a long arm quilting machine, which one would you buy? I went to a show in NJ last weekend and tried two (for the first time ever) and I want one. And, I will find a way. I love doing them on my home machine, but I'm an instant gratification type of person, and I loved it!!! The guy that showed me said "you've done this before, haven't you?" and I said, "Yes, on my home machine!!!" Send me your thoughts in the comments. 

I also wanted to mention that next to my design wall (on the left) near the computer where I type this are signed, framed photographs of Kenny Chesney and Ben Affleck. So, they are watching over me :)

Any my friend Sheela's band (love you sweetie)!

Until next time,


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012


So, I didn't get selected for the Modern Mini Challenge, but it does appear that the finalists were quite talented. Either that, or they had a lot more time on their hands than I did. I think maybe we need a challenge/contest that would give beginners or those that don't have 5 hours a day to spend on piecing and quilting a chance :) Anyway, I BOM'd again today. Here are the photos:

 The Craftsy March block (1 of 2).

 Moral Support.

 All six of the blocks so far.
 Another Block of the Month at Quilt Story I am doing that I just started.

Hope you all enjoy the photos and progress! I find them very "peace" ful.

Until next time, 


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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Modern Mini Challenge, Time to Vote!!! Slash & Sew, No Rules, Just Right!!!

Ok, let me just start out by saying THANK YOU to danih03 for telling me about this challenge! Because of her, I got inspired to do this :) For those of you reading this who do not know what the Modern Mini Challenge is, click on it! So, now that you know, it was a quickie challenge (5 weeks) and it has some fabulous prizes! I'm writing my blog essay about it so that I can be entered in the contest and get voted on ;) Let's get right down to it. Here it is: 

In case you did not click on the rules here they are:

The Modern Mini Challenge is a 5 week series that kicks off with some seriously inspiring work from some super talented bloggers. Spark your creativity with ideas and inspiration from some amazing mini quilts and mug rugs*. 

Get ideas flowing for color, fabric, technique and style. This is your opportunity to try something new, something fun, something on a small scale. 

Take that big idea and give it a try in mini form

So here’s how it will work: 
2/6/12 - 2/19/12 
Weeks 1 & 2 - Inspiration Weeks - Modern Mini Challenge Blog Hop  
Bloggers share their modern minis and kick-start your creativity. Get inspired, get creative, get those ideas flowing!

2/20/12 - 3/4/12 
Weeks 3 & 4 - Sew. Sew. Sew! 
Work on those minis and create your Modern Mini Challenge piece. 
3/5/12 - 3/9/12 
Week 5: Enter the Contest!
Link up your Modern Mini Challenge piece at Ellison Lane Quilts. Voting begins that week and winners are announced on March 9th!

Size Requirements: Minis should be smaller than 36." 

*mug rug=very small quilt typically used as a coaster :)

So, while I got tons of inspiration from the daily blogs, I already had some inspiration from my Mitch kitty :) I blogged about his love of quilts and cotton batting here and also here.

He really, really, really needed his own quilt to lay on! Since he loved laying in the kitchen, I started thinking about the colors in our kitchen and what kind of fabric would be kitty-centric. 

Here is a picture of our kitchen:

Then I started thinking "how could I make it modern?" Well, I have not been quilting long, so I mostly knew how to sew together rectangles and triangles (which is usually not considered modern). But, I was doing the Craftsy Block of the Month where they showed me how to do slashing/stripping. I decided that it was time to just start slashing and sewing with no rules, just whatever struck my fancy :) I used kitchen fabrics (peppers and the red with the kitchen words on it - hard to see in the pic). I went to JoAnn's and found a $10 bundle of fabric that had orange colours and kitties. And, then I just started improvising.

Here are a few of the pics of my progress:


 Ironing as I slash.

 About to put the border on. 

 Putting the border on.

 Sewing on the border. (Orange thread I used to quilt it is also in the pic.)

 Working on the back fabrics.

Spray basting it. Interesting note: I save all the batting and fabric that I cut off when I square final quilts. The batting was in two pieces (scraps) from previous large quilts that I had finished and I just lined them up to make it fit. You can't tell in the final product!!!

In the above photo, I was practicing on my quilt sandwich scrap.

In the above photo, I had accidentally forgotten to put the foot down and this is a view of the stitching from the underside. Good thing I was only warming up !

This is me quilting it.

This is me squaring it off (above).

This is me (above) about to sew the binding strip ends together. I use a technique I learned here at Moose Quilts. I love their approach to making the ends come together. It works purrfectly every time!!!

The ends after sewed together (above). The finished product (below): 

For the back, I used leftover fabrics and my signature.

 Here I used my labeling technique which I have fallen in love with.

And, here is Mitch showing it some love :)

And, Charlene Elizabeth Baltimore (Charlie) showing it some love with her best friend Mitch Hennessy!

Anyway, I hope you all can show me some love and vote. Also, please follow me, comment, +1 me, and share this on Facebook or through email with your friends!

Until my next post, I wish you all the best!


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Friday, March 2, 2012

I BOM'd today :)

The Craftsy BOM is sooooooo beginner. It's perfect for me. And, I'm learning a TON about piecing. That's why I was so excited about March 1st coming up. (Here are January and February). Well anyway, I finished the first block for March (there are 2 blocks every month):

It's called a String Block and you use what's called Foundation Piecing to do it.

The following pics are of my progress:

I was very impressed with it. It's very different. The one strange thing I noticed is how thick the fabric layers/block become as you go along. My only concern is that when I quilt it I will break a needle because of all the layers (especially with the seams). But I think the end result was absolutely beautiful.

Until next time, I love comments, +1's, followers and shares on Facebook or email :)


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